|Venus of Urbino, 1538, Tiziano Vecellio|
A good part of Titian's greatness as a painter comes from the fact that oil painting came to Italy just as he was starting his career, and that he had the presence of mind to grab hold of the new medium and explore its technical potential while maintaining the considerable skills he'd developed as a colorist using egg tempera. Unlike the strong draftsmanship that was the basis of Leonardo's or Raphael's painting, Titian's strength rested in his incredible use of subtle, transparent, varnished glazes of color, through which he built up his masses and rendered textures that were a standard for oil painters for the next three hundred years. And because of his amazing longevity, he serves very well as a convenient link between the Renaissance and the Baroque era minus the extravagant, self-conscious contrivances that marked the intervening Mannerist period.
|Pieta, 1576, Titian, his last painting, |
probably intended for his tomb.